BY MOSES MATENGA
HARARE City Council is currently operating with two acting mayors and two town clerks as the fight for control of the capital city reaches boiling point.
Councillors Luckson Mukunguma and Stewart Mutizwa are both operating as acting mayors, following the return of Mukunguma who is facing criminal abuse of office charges. He was suspended by the Local Government minister July Moyo.
Mutizwa was acting following the suspension of Mukunguma after an order was issued that all those facing criminal charges should be suspended.
Mukunguma last week confirmed he was back in office despite a ministerial directive claiming otherwise.
“Today, the 14th of January, 2021, I have received an instruction from my legal counsel to go back to work after some correspondence with the ministry,” Mukunguma said.
But Mutizwa yesterday said there was need to immediately address the chaos at Town House as it was affecting service delivery, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The confusion at Town House continues,” Mutizwa curtly said.
“I am still there, but I have paved way for my senior who says he is back. I would not want to cause more confusion.”
Mukunguma’s return has divided council with observers saying it was illegal to challenge a suspension by a minister by bulldozing one’s way in.
Town clerk Hosea Chisango also bulldozed his way into office at a time when the director of works, Zvenyika Chawatama was acting.
Chisango was arrested last week on fresh charges.
The city has been divided into camps that are battling to control the local authority.
Mutizwa said the confusion at Town House was bad for service delivery at a time of COVID-19.
“Service delivery is suffering and we need some form of stability now. We have a pandemic and we need water to wash hands, which is a recommendation by the World Health Organisation. We must try to do our roads properly because COVID-19 needs quick transportation of people to hospitals, but now it’s all confusion,” he said.
Since last year, Harare has witnessed recalls of mayors that included Herbert Gomba. The current mayor Jacob Mafume was elected to replace him. Mafume was arrested and subsequently suspended, a development that led to Mukunguma, his deputy, being appointed mayor.
Mukunguma was also arrested and suspended, leaving Mutizwa in charge.
Local Government deputy minister Marian Chombo is yet to respond to questions sent by NewsDay concerning the drama at town house.